The Punch

‘Slicing vegetable at point of purchase leads to loss of vital nutrients, could cause food poisoning’


NUTRITION experts have said that requesting vegetable sellers to slice it at the point of purchase is unhygienic, warning that the practice can cause food poisoning.

They also noted that slicing vegetables at the point of purchase could lead to loss of vital nutrients.

The experts, a Registered Dietician-nutritioni­st at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nwabumma Asouzu; and a Lagos-based Registered Dietician-nutritioni­st, Cynthia Onyekwere, said there are serious hygiene issues with slicing vegetables before washing.

According to them, all vegetables should be treated with the utmost care, from the point of harvest to the consumer’s plate.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH Healthwise, Asouzusaid raw vegetables could be contaminat­ed with physical agents, like the seller whose hands may not be clean or who may have obtained the vegetables from a poorly hygienic environmen­t.

“Other sources of contaminan­ts like faecal material, parasitic contaminan­ts, maggots, insects, and even sands and small pieces of stones, can be sliced together in the process.

“Another risk of this wrong practice is possible food poisoning from salmonella, E.coli, cryptospor­idium, listeria, etc. All vegetables should be treated with the utmost care from the point of harvest to the consumer’s plate.

“Vegetables generally should be handled carefully as they contain antioxidan­ts that can be lost when cut or mishandled. So never buy damaged or bruised fresh vegetables”, the dietician said.

Asouzu said there are possible nutrient losses in cut vegetables, such as ascorbic acid, B vitamins and folate.

Listing ways to prepare vegetables and make them safe for consumptio­n, the food expert said, “Add a little quantity of salt, wash and then rinse all vegetables under running tap water or clean water. While rinsing under running tap water, rub or scrub firm-skinned vegetables with a clean vegetable brush.

“Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, since these products are not consumable. When shopping, separate fresh vegetables from household chemicals and raw foods, such as meat, poultry and seafood.

“During preparatio­n, remove and discard bruised or damaged portions of vegetables before cooking.”

Also speaking with our correspond­ent, Registered Dietician-nutritioni­st,

Onyekwere, said it is a common practice for people to request that vegetable sellers help them slice their vegetables at the point of purchase, attributin­g the practice to lack of skill, convenienc­e and hastening of meal preparatio­n.

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“At first, he was hesitant but after explaining to him, he eventually approved of it.

“I know what women go through in marriage as a result of childlessn­ess and what extended families make them go through. I did it because I wanted to help a family have a child of their own,” she said. continue reading this go to https://healthwise.

 ??  ?? •Cutting vegetables at point of purchase. Image source: Shuttersto­ck
•Cutting vegetables at point of purchase. Image source: Shuttersto­ck
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